In Sunday’s New York Times, Maureen Dowd makes the argument that President Biden should do something that has not happened since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House: Announce that he will not seek a second term.
Swamped by opposition to the Vietnam War, Johnson opted out of running for re-election in 1968.
Why should Biden be a one-and-done president?
You can read Dowd’s reasons here.
Her point is well-argued, though Twitter slammed her pretty good for even raising the issue. As a columnist at the commentary grind much longer than Dowd, I appreciate her fine craft in making the case for Biden to finish on a high note and stop after one term. We’re at a point in national dialogue, however, where many Americans, right and left, just can’t stomach a contrary opinion, especially one well reasoned. (Do schools still have debate clubs?)
While the left doesn’t want to hear about Biden being too old for a second term, the right harshly criticizes him as senile and blames him unfairly for inflation and higher gasoline prices, and slams him repeatedly for the ongoing mess at the southern border with Mexico. As Dowd notes, we could see Republicans making an effort to impeach him — if only as payback for the Trump indictments — should the GOP gain a majority in the House next year.
But Dowd’s column and the discussion about Biden’s age and executive capacity come at a pretty strange time: Just when Congress is about to approve his Build Back Better legislative package reduced and reconstituted as the Inflation Reduction Act. It contains historic funding to address and slow global warming, bring down the costs of prescription medications and tax the huge corporations that have paid, thanks to Republicans, virtually nothing for years.
The do-little Republicans in the Senate were in unanimous opposition, of course. The same is likely to happen when the House votes.
Despite facing harsh criticism and low approval ratings for several months, Biden looks more and more like a consequential president — more than any president since perhaps LBJ. (That is, in terms of a progressive domestic agenda. Ronald Reagan was consequential in a much different way — cutting taxes on the rich; ridiculing government as a power for good; cutting domestic spending while increasing the defense budget as a strategy against the Soviet Union.)
Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan was terrible — and it marked the beginning on his slide in approval ratings — but he deserves more credit than he gets:
With his push on the Covid-19 front, nearly 80% of Americans have had at least one dose of a vaccine against the virus by now, according to the CDC. Fully vaccinated is now at 67%.
Despite FOX News’ incessant talk of a recession, the nation’s economy is still strong. With the gain of more than half a million jobs in July, unemployment is now just 3.5%, matching the half-century low last seen just before the start of the pandemic in 2020.
The U.S. military killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks who took over al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden.
Biden has held the alliance against Russia together throughout the Ukraine horror, and the Senate voted in a bipartisan way to ratify the membership for Finland and Sweden in NATO.
In a major advance for U.S. technology and manufacturing, Congress approved the CHIPS Act. It is expected to increase semiconductor production and make the US more competitive against China.
Under Biden and the Democrats, we’ve seen the first major gun regulation to come out of Congress since Bill Clinton was president. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act addresses gaps that enable mass shootings, with a focus on mental health, school safety and enhanced red flag laws.
The bipartisan deal on infrastructure will put $1.2 trillion into projects across the country — even in the congressional districts of Republicans who voted against it. (See Maryland, 1st District, Andy Harris.)
There’s more to this list, but I think you get the point.
So should Joe Biden run for a second term or soon announce that he won’t?
I’m going to leave that question for you. Please feel free to leave your comments on this post.